Swindoll Study Bible Review

The Swindoll Study Bible is the newest NLT study Bible from Tyndale. It includes Charles Swindoll’s notes from Insight for Living and his sermons over the years with a focus on life change. Charles Swindoll works to answer the who, what, when, why, where, and how questions about the Bible to explain who wrote it, to whom, and how to apply it. I’m reviewing the hard cover, ISBN: 9781414387253, made in China.

Tyndale provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

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This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-a-Million

Thrift Books

and many local Bible bookstores

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COVER AND BINDING

This is hardcover is a dust jacket. The cover under the dust jacket has a dull blue finish with the title stamped in gold foil. The text-block is section sewn and opens easily to any page and the spine lifts to help it lay flat, which keeps the text from bending out of view into the gutter. It feels well-made. The overall size is 9 1/2 x 6 7/8 x 2″.

PAPER

The paper feels like it’s around 32gsm. It’s white, but it has more show-through than I would like. The show-through sometimes affect readability in some places because of the bold color on the other side of the page. The pages have a rough texture that makes them easy to grab and turn. It has no glare under direct light, so you won’t need to move the Bible around to see the text.

TYPOGRAPHY

The text is presented in double column paragraph with poetry in the standard NLT poetic setting. It doesn’t include cross references but it does have translation footnotes under the text. Commentary is placed below that and articles take a full page. The header includes the book name, chapter, and verse number in the outer margin, and page number in the inner margin – all printed in a blue that’s used as highlights throughout the Bible including section headings, behind the commentary, for titles within the articles, and behind certain articles.

The typeface is around 9-point with a good amount of leading. It’s dark and highly readable where it isn’t hampered with show-through. Even then it’s still readable. The text does not include line-matching, which would have helped even more. I like the design of the font.

It has 50 characters across and around 8-10 words per line. The columns of text are wide enough to make the poetic settings look nice for a double column setting.

I like the blue highlights. It gives the interior an interesting design element and makes the text stand apart from everything else.

INTRODUCTIONS

The various sections of Scripture, such as the Pentateuch and the Gospels, are introduced with a colored page and a paragraph that talks about the main purpose of that section and what it is.

Book introductions take around 2.5 pages and show a key verse under the title. They cover who the author was, where they were when they wrote the book, why they were important, what the main point of the book is, how to apply the information in the book, a quote, and a table. The table creates an outline with various types of information that includes an emphasis, content, political powers, theme, key verse, Christ in the book, etc. Some of the introductions include maps, photos of locations, etc.

The introductions are well-written and easy to follow.

STUDY MATERIAL

In-text photos and maps are in black and white. This seems odd after seeing the many full-color study Bibles that have hit the market in the past few years. It does make sense to use black and white to bring down the cost. It just stands out if you’ve seen a lot of other study Bibles. The blue highlights help offset that.

If you’re familiar with the teachings and writings of Charles Swindoll then you’ll recognize the types of study material that’s included in this Bible.

Articles – these are full page articles that explains important passages. Chuck Swindoll uses personal stories to help teach biblical points. They provide a title with a Scripture passage, and a quote from the article. They’re well-written and insightful. They have a devotional feel and include an application. There are 220 articles.

Profiles – these are profiles of key people in the Bible. They highlight the key points about the person, their family, their setting, key lessons about them, and where you can learn more about them in the Bible. They take a full page and provide bullet points to show quick facts, key lessons, and where to learn more. They end with an application to help you apply the lessons to your own life.  There are 37 profiles included.

Prayer Moments – these are prayers from the end Chuck Swindoll’s sermons. They lead the reader in asking God for help to understand and apply the message. These are placed throughout the Scriptures as a quote at the top of the page in larger print and includes the title and references they apply to. There are fewer of these than the other helps, but there are a lot of them.

Living Insights – these are short insights from Chuck Swindoll’s sermons at the bottom of almost every page. They cover teachings from the text. They include a title, references, and the teaching with an application. There are hundreds of them – many pages include more than one.

SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES

This is an article about Bible study with an inductive section to answer questions. I’m glad to see this included, as study Bibles should teach good study habits.

Material includes:

  • The Basics of Studying the Bible – covers Bible study methods. Includes Observation, Interpretation, Correlation, and Application.
  • Benefits of Studying the Bible – shows the personal value of Bible study. Discusses Wisdom, Insight, and Understanding.
  • Now It’s Your Turn – gives ruled lines for you to practice the study methods using Philippians 4:4-9. It steps you through each of the processes.

READING PLANS

It includes 2 reading plans. Both plans provide reading for 5 days per week for 52 weeks, with readings from 2 locations per day. The first plan takes you through the Old Testament with the second location being the Psalms or Proverbs. The second plan takes you through the New Testament and Psalms and Proverbs.

If you read both plans you’ll have 4 readings per day, which starts you with Genesis, Psalms, Matthew, and Proverbs – taking you through the entire Bible and Psalms and Proverbs twice. Each reading includes a box so you can mark each reading. This sounds like an interesting reading plan that I might have to try.

INDEXES

There are several indexes in the back to the articles and other features. These are great for finding the topics quickly. They include:

  • Index to Application Articles
  • Index to Holy Land Tour Stops
  • Topical Index to Features

CONCORDANCE/DICTIONARY

The NLT dictionary/concordance combo is an excellent study tool. As its name suggests, it not only provides a word with a list of references, it also provides a definition. These are especially useful for biblical characters – it provides a short biography with lots of references to events that they were involved in.

Similar words are combined and it shows the parts of speech. Here are a few example references with the number of entries for each to help you compare:

  • Christ – 95
  • Christian/Christians – 3
  • Faith – 107
  • Faithful(adj) – 43
  • Faithful(n) – 2
  • Faithfulness – 15
  • God/Gods – 90
  • God-Breathed – 1
  • Godless – 7
  • Godliness – 4
  • Godly(adj) – 11
  • Godly(n) – 15
  • Praise/Praises(n) – 18
  • Praise/Praised/Praises/Praising(v) – 44
  • Pray/Prayed/Praying/Prays – 42
  • Prayer/Prayers – 20

MAPS

It has 2 sets of maps in the back. The first set covers tours that you can take with Charles Swindoll and his team. These are printed on regular Bible paper. They provide information about the tour, the locations covered in the tour, and give a page number that you can turn to in the Bible to learn more about that location and the events around it. These maps are printed in gray with blue highlights rather than full color. They show topography, water, and locations of cities.

The regular maps are printed on thick glossy paper. They include topography with elevations, distance, cities, routes, Scripture references, annual rainfall, locations of battles, historical information, dates, realms, territories, events, gates, etc. It also includes a comparison of the size of Israel to Florida. There isn’t an index, but they are annotated well. They’re not overly bright and don’t look cartoonish.

Maps include:

  1. Six Holy Land Tour Itineraries
  2. Topography of Palestine
  3. World of the Patriarchs
  4. Exodus from Egypt
  5. Twelve Tribes of Israel
  6. Conquest of Canaan
  7. Kingdoms of Israel
  8. Deportations and Returns Under Assyria and Babylon
  9. Assyrian and Babylonian Empires
  10. Greek Empire
  11. Palestine Between Old and New Testaments
  12. Old Testament Jerusalem
  13. New Testament Jerusalem
  14. Roman Division of Palestine
  15. Ministry of Jesus
  16. Paul’s Missionary Journeys
  17. Roman Empire and the Spread of Christianity
  18. Israel and the Middle East Today

FREE APP

Purchasing this Bible gives you free access to the app for Android and iOS. The app includes all of the notes from the print edition and adds searching, the ability to take notes, create bookmarks, and sharing on social media.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE SWINDOLL STUDY BIBLE

There is a lot of material in the Swindoll Study Bible. The primary focus is on applying biblical principles to our lives rather than theological view-points. However, it does include some theology from a partial cessationist view. As always I recommend you do your own study and use commentary for reference. Lots of the articles include topics on leadership, which I found insightful. I found this Bible to be helpful for applying Scripture for personal growth.

_________________________________________________________

This Bible is available at (includes some affiliate links)

Amazon

Books-a-Million

Thrift Books 

and many local Bible bookstores

_________________________________________________________

Photography by hannah C brown

Tyndale provided this Bible free for review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.

About The Author

Randy A Brown

WordPress writer by day, Bible reviewer by night, pastor all the time. And there’s also that author thing.

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